Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

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Re: Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Feb 2, 2011 11:30 am

Peter,

Could you provide some clarification here? Is Indiana confirmed WNS or confirmed G.d.? It also might be helpful if you reiterate the definitions of both.

As usual in this catastrophe, I am hearing different facts from different people/agencies. When I read the announcement, I see that bats from Endless cave had fungus on them. This fungus was tested and confirmed to be G.d. Is this not WNS? If not, what does it take to have confirmed WNS as opposed to confirmed G.d.?
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Re: Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Feb 2, 2011 12:52 pm

Anonymous_Coward wrote:what does it take to have confirmed WNS as opposed to confirmed G.d.?


Histopathological evidence of characteristic fungal lesions?
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Re: Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

Postby cavergirl » Feb 2, 2011 1:58 pm

Anonymous_Coward wrote:Could you provide some clarification here? Is Indiana confirmed WNS or confirmed G.d.? It also might be helpful if you reiterate the definitions of both.
When I read the announcement, I see that bats from Endless cave had fungus on them. This fungus was tested and confirmed to be G.d. Is this not WNS? If not, what does it take to have confirmed WNS as opposed to confirmed G.d.?


definitions are here
http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/disease_inform ... itions.jsp

basically, to identify a bat as suspect for WNS, one of the following must be true:
•Field signs are suggestive of WNS
•A bat is PCR positive for DNA from G. destructans
•A bat is culture positive for viable G. destructans
•Fungal tape strip of bat fur or skin is positive for G. destructans-like conidia

Confirmed positive bats are those that fulfill histopathologic criteria for the disease. These criteria require the identification of a specific pattern of fungal colonization in the epidermis which may extend to invasion of the dermis and connective tissue


The map shows the Indiana site as "likely" (same as suspect) http://batcon.org/images/stories/WNS_St ... eLarge.jpg
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Re: Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

Postby tncaver » Feb 2, 2011 2:02 pm

David Grimes wrote:Technically they cannot "make" landowners close access to their caves but the fear is that they will use they Endangered Species Act in a way similar to the whole issue with the Center for Biological Diversity, in which they essentially scare the landowner into closing access to the caves. By throwing around legal terms and threatening legal action which in the CBD case involved issuing fines for failure to abide by FWS requirements, it would be fairly easy to get landowners to start bulldozing caves or restricting access. A big fear now days is the risk that the landowner may lose the ability to use their own land or even have their land seized under the "Critical Habitat" section of the law. In reality a landowner probably would face no real repercussion for not closing their caves but you could see how it would be easy enough to scare them into it, just read the entire Endangered Species Act, I know many people who would never report having any endangered species on their property it is simply not worth the risk of losing the use of your own land.


David, that is exactly why I have urged cavers in TN to NOT give the new Karst Group that just met at Falls Creek Falls any information about private caves with large groups of NON endangered bats. The CBD wants to have ALL bats declared endangered. That would give the FEDs more power to screw over cavers
and private landowners. I'm sure that all the cavers who attended the meeting will probably be happy to oblige Cory Holiday and the USFWS with new bat
information, however it will likely come back to bite them in the ass. And everyone else too. This is truly insanity as more evidence in Indiana shows
clearly that cavers are NOT the vector. Pitiful.
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Re: Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Feb 2, 2011 2:04 pm

Thanks for the help cavergirl.

So, when Indiana DNR says they have "confirmed" G.d. they are really saying that they have found a " WNS suspect" or "WNS likely" site?

Standard terminology is nice, but only when we all use the same standard.
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Re: Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

Postby tncaver » Feb 2, 2011 2:07 pm

PYoungbaer wrote:
Sungura wrote:I guess I"m missing where they can make landowners close private caves. I agree with everything you wrote though. It sucks, no other way to say it.


Just look at what Wisconsin did: named four bat species as state threatened, and named Geomyces destructans as a prohibited invasive species. Private cave owners and cavers have run up legal bills in the five figure range to fight the rules. By the way, these rules are currently being challenged by state legislators, with prompting from the landowners.


I'm glad cavers and landowners are suing to fight the new rules. I hope more states will join in soon. The states are already in an uproar over other political issues involving the FED overstepping their bounds (I won't elaborate for TOS reasons).
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Re: Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

Postby David Grimes » Feb 2, 2011 2:09 pm

Very true, Indiana should be a prime example. All the public caves in Indiana have been closed for at least 2 years and Endless cave like wyandottecaver noted has been closed even longer. The state took over control of the Cave River Valley park I believe around 3 years ago before other Indiana caves had closed, and they closed the park for renovations which subsequently never reopened in an "effort" to "slow" the spread of WNS.
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Re: Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

Postby PYoungbaer » Feb 2, 2011 2:17 pm

Anonymous Coward:

Excellent question, and cavergirl supplied you with a good answer. Similarly, researchers often get confused. Just minutes ago, I received the updated WNS map from Cal Butchkoski. You'll note he has not only added Indiana as a site, but has changed the terminology to "suspect" to conform with the USGS NWHC Classification system.

The short answer for the Indiana report is that the fungus was confirmed, but no histology, therefore not WNS "confirmed." By the way, I have from two sources that we may hear more shortly from Indiana, which wouldn't surprise me.

Here's the new map, and Cal's comments below:
Image
Click to enlarge

Hi All,

Unfortunately the state of Indiana announced the detection of WNS in a Washington Co., cave yesterday. I’ve classed it as “suspect” since it appears no histo results are back yet. There will likely be more reports from Indiana.
I’ve changed the “Likely” category to “Suspect” to match with the NWHC case definition categories recently announced:

Suspect WNS:
To identify a bat as suspect for WNS, one of the following must be true:

• Field signs are suggestive of WNS ANDWNS was previously confirmed in the county or in an adjacent county. Further diagnostics (PCR, culture, fungal tape and histopathology) were either not performed or are negative.

• A bat is PCR positive meaning that DNA from G. destructans is present although the viability of the organism is unknown. Field signs are not required. No histopathology was performed or is negative.

• A bat is culture positive meaning there is viable G. destructans present. Field signs are not required. No histopathology was performed or is negative.

• Fungal tape strip of bat fur or skin is positive for G. destructans-like conidia. Visible fungus is required. No histopathology was performed or is negative.

Confirmed positive for WNS:

• Confirmed positive bats are those that fulfill histopathologic criteria for the disease. These criteria require the identification of a specific pattern of fungal colonization in the epidermis which may extend to invasion of the dermis and connective tissue. Histopathology can also support the presence/identity of G. destructans if distinctive conidia are observed. Field signs, PCR, fungal tape strip, and culture can be negative for bats that fulfill the histopathologic criteria for confirmed WNS. Follow-up PCR/DNA sequencing or fungal culture should be considered to confirm the identity of the organism in geographic regions with no prior or unknown history of WNS.

I regretfully welcome Indiana to the riddled and rattled WNS raft.

Cal Butchkoski
Wildlife Diversity Biologist
PA Game commission
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Re: Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

Postby Pippin » Feb 2, 2011 2:23 pm

tncaver wrote:I'm sure that all the cavers who attended the meeting will probably be happy to oblige Cory Holiday and the USFWS with new bat
information, however it will likely come back to bite them in the ass. And everyone else too.


I wouldn't count on that. I was at the meeting to simply start some kind of dialog with biologists working in Tennessee. I sure won't give anyone information about privately owned caves with bats until state and federal officials move away from total cave closures and start treating cavers as partners. And I suspect that will be a long time coming. Pretty much everyone I know feels the same. I do wonder what is going to happen in the coming months as WNS starts to hammer our area. It's very, very sad for the bats and I fear it will lead to even more hysterical restrictions from government agencies towards cavers.
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Re: Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

Postby tncaver » Feb 2, 2011 2:40 pm

Pippin wrote:
tncaver wrote:I'm sure that all the cavers who attended the meeting will probably be happy to oblige Cory Holiday and the USFWS with new bat
information, however it will likely come back to bite them in the ass. And everyone else too.


I wouldn't count on that. I was at the meeting to simply start some kind of dialog with biologists working in Tennessee. I sure won't give anyone information about privately owned caves with bats until state and federal officials move away from total cave closures and start treating cavers as partners. And I suspect that will be a long time coming. Pretty much everyone I know feels the same. I do wonder what is going to happen in the coming months as WNS starts to hammer our area. It's very, very sad for the bats and I fear it will lead to even more hysterical restrictions from government agencies towards cavers.


Very well said Pippin and I'm glad to hear more common sense coming from someone who has become involved with the process. :kewl:
Unfortunately I doubt everyone who attended that meeting will be as sensible as you, but I'll keep my fingers crossed. Loose lips sinks
ships (the good ship CAVING that is).
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Re: Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

Postby caveflower » Feb 3, 2011 9:03 am

It is a sad day indeed. :sad: With all the efforts of local cavers deconing their cave gear and closing bat caves. It still came here. We knew it would but we held out hope. I do a lot of caveowner relations here in Indiana and have also seen it take a toll on caver friendly owners. With cavers only having caves on privite lands they are getting overwelmed. Not all but some. For some that have been kinda on the fence about closing their caves. This might just put them over the top. I have even talked to one owner that just wants to bulldoze hers shut. :yikes: It's has no bats at all but for fear of getting in trouble by the feds she doesn't want the hassle. I am lost at what to tell these on the fence caveowners. I don't know how to calm their fears.
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Re: Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

Postby BrianC » Feb 3, 2011 9:42 am

caveflower wrote:It is a sad day indeed. :sad: With all the efforts of local cavers deconing their cave gear and closing bat caves. It still came here. We knew it would but we held out hope. I do a lot of caveowner relations here in Indiana and have also seen it take a toll on caver friendly owners. With cavers only having caves on privite lands they are getting overwelmed. Not all but some. For some that have been kinda on the fence about closing their caves. This might just put them over the top. I have even talked to one owner that just wants to bulldoze hers shut. :yikes: It's has no bats at all but for fear of getting in trouble by the feds she doesn't want the hassle. I am lost at what to tell these on the fence caveowners. I don't know how to calm their fears.


Brenda, I wish that cavers could say that the NSS (the largest scientific caving community) would help calm their fears by actions providing information that correlates the spread of WNS by humans as irrational and unjust, but unfortunately, chicken little (the sky is falling) talk by the feds hasn't been counter responded by them. Hopefully, private land owners have some insight to see this fear is nonfactual,(totally theoretical), and will be met with vigilance from true conservation groups in the future. Unfortunately as well, many of the conservation groups have been allied with the feds, and therefore mingle under the sheets with them.
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Re: Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

Postby tncaver » Feb 3, 2011 10:23 am

BrianC wrote:Brenda, I wish that cavers could say that the NSS (the largest scientific caving community) would help calm their fears by actions providing information that correlates the spread of WNS by humans as irrational and unjust, but unfortunately, chicken little (the sky is falling) talk by the feds hasn't been counter responded by them. Hopefully, private land owners have some insight to see this fear is nonfactual,(totally theoretical), and will be met with vigilance from true conservation groups in the future. Unfortunately as well, many of the conservation groups have been allied with the feds, and therefore mingle under the sheets with them.


Unfortunately I think you are exactly correct Brian.
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Re: Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

Postby PYoungbaer » Feb 3, 2011 1:48 pm

caveflower wrote:It is a sad day indeed. :sad: With all the efforts of local cavers deconing their cave gear and closing bat caves. It still came here. We knew it would but we held out hope. I do a lot of caveowner relations here in Indiana and have also seen it take a toll on caver friendly owners. With cavers only having caves on privite lands they are getting overwelmed. Not all but some. For some that have been kinda on the fence about closing their caves. This might just put them over the top. I have even talked to one owner that just wants to bulldoze hers shut. :yikes: It's has no bats at all but for fear of getting in trouble by the feds she doesn't want the hassle. I am lost at what to tell these on the fence caveowners. I don't know how to calm their fears.


caveflower - Thank you very much for posting this, and for your blessing. This sort of specific example is just another example of kind of unintended consequence we have been warning about. I've just sent the following message to Jeremy Coleman, National WNS Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

Dear Jeremy,

As the national WNS coordinator, we are calling on you to lead an effort to revisit and
revise the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's caving advisory on White Nose Syndrome, and to urge a
revisitation and revision of cave closure orders among USFWS's federal and state partners.

USFWS wields a great deal of influence. We need its leadership in bringing a more
balanced approach to what is happening. And we need it to be a priority now, not just as
as adjunct or sidebar to the host of other WNS national plan activities. With additional
federal funding for WNS research very much in doubt, our fear is that all we are likely
to see is more "management." Doing this in a manner we can all support, must be a
priority.

As you know, the NSS has been consistent in our message that our WNS efforts must be done
in the context of overall cave and cave resource conservation. We have enunciated on
numerous occasions our concerns for other cave resources, and have cited examples of cave
vandalism, and the dangers of not having conservation-minded cavers out monitoring our
cave resources and engaging unaffiliated members of the caving public.

Today, another example of our concerns was posted by an Indiana caver, responding to the
news of WNS in that state:

"It is a sad day indeed. With all the efforts of local cavers deconing their cave gear
and closing bat caves. It still came here. We knew it would but we held out hope. I do a
lot of caveowner relations here in Indiana and have also seen it take a toll on caver
friendly owners. With cavers only having caves on private lands they are getting
overwhelmed. Not all but some. For some that have been kinda on the fence about closing
their caves. This might just put them over the top. I have even talked to one owner that
just wants to bulldoze hers shut. Yikes. It's has no bats at all but for fear of getting
in trouble by the feds she doesn't want the hassle. I am lost at what to tell these on
the fence caveowners. I don't know how to calm their fears."

Bulldozing a cave entrance - of a cave that doesn't have bats. This is exactly what we
have continually warned against. We can't let that happen. We can't let WNS undo years
worth of building and maintaining landowner relations. We can't let WNS undo decades
worth of concerted and collaborative efforts to protect and conserve our cave resources
in their entirety. But that is at risk.

Our members have been extremely patient and collaborative throughout the entire WNS
situation, but the frustration and discontent has been growing. We are hearing more and
more from across the country that cavers do not want to participate in collaborative
efforts - in much part due to management decisions by federal and state agencies that are
perceived by knowledgeable and conservation-minded cavers to be over-reactive, based on
sometimes slim science, speculation and political pressure, and insensitive to broader
science and conservation issues. That result would not be beneficial to anyone.

We will not stand to see caves harmed. We will not stand to see cave exploration, study,
and conservation harmed. We will not stand to see access to caves on public lands
continually denied - caves that we all own, as taxpaying American citizens.

USFWS says it reviews it's caving advisory quarterly, yet we have seen no change since it
was first issued, in March of 2009. It's long overdue. We need to bring some balance to
the situation, before it's too late. Please help.

Thank you,

Peter Youngbaer
WNS Liaison
National Speleological Society
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Re: Indiana DNR Confirms Geomyces destructans

Postby Pippin » Feb 3, 2011 2:12 pm

Peter, thanks!!! That is excellent. I have many FWS and state contacts in the southeast. Can I forward your letter to them?
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